Ula Reis-Moniz went 3 for 4 with three RBIs to lead the Raiders over the Buffanblu. Brien Ing | SL
Ula Reis-Moniz went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and Nalani Taniguchi scattered seven hits in a complete-game pitching effort yesterday to lift 'Iolani to a 4-2 victory over Punahou in a special Interscholastic League of Honolulu softball playoff.
The victory at Ala Wai Field improved the Raiders to 8-1 in ILH play and advanced them to today's 4 p.m. game at Mid-Pacific (7-1) for the league's first round championship. The winner also will earn the first of two ILH state tournament berths.
'Iolani, MPI and Punahou each finished the first round with a 7-1 record, and Mid-Pacific drew a bye in the special three-team playoff.
The Raiders are in position to earn their first state berth since 2007 only after beating Punahou, 6-1, last Thursday, Kamehameha, 5-4, on Saturday and then the Buffanblu again yesterday. They also got some help when Punahou held off MPI, 4-3, on Saturday.
"We've been living on the edge," 'Iolani coach Chris Shimabukuro said. "We were in a battle with Kamehameha, and we were so worried about winning that game we weren't even thinking about (the Punahou-MPI outcome)."
The Raiders had plenty to worry about yesterday, too, especially after Buffanblu junior Reina Furuya led off the game with a hard line single that skipped over the left fielder's head, allowing Furuya to circle the bases and give Punahou a quick 1-0 lead.
But 'Iolani answered in the bottom of the first, as Kim Souza was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Reis-Moniz's single to left. The Raiders made it 3-1 in the third after another run-scoring single by Reis-Moniz and a two-out infield error that allowed her to score three batters later.
They added a run in the fourth after Marisa Terayama led off with a walk, advanced to second on Lahela Usui's bunt single and scored on Reis-Moniz's one-out single to center.
The Buffanblu closed it to 4-2 in the fifth after Furuya led off with a single, advanced to second on Mysha Sataraka's single and scored on Jaci Young's liner to center. But center field Usui fired to shortstop Kim Souza for a forceout at second on the play, and Taniguchi got a groundout to end the inning.
'Iolani then turned the second of its two double plays in the sixth and Taniguchi set down Punahou in order in the seventh to seal the victory.
"Nalani pitched a gutsy game and our defense made key plays with runners on base," Shimabukuro said.
Furuya and Sataraka had five hits and a walk, but the Buffanblu went a combined 0 for 8 in the 3-4-5 spots of the batting order.
"We didn't get timely hits, we were not patient enough," Punahou coach Bob Makahilahila said. "But (the Raiders) made plays when they needed to, and they're all good contact hitters. They got the base hits when they needed to."
'Iolani pitcher Nalani Taniguchi went the distance to earn the victory over Punahou.
Punahou's Mysha Sataraka rifles a throw to first base against 'Iolani.